Alabama Chanin is a celebration of deep Southern roots merged with contemporary style. As a company, we strive to connect to those roots by integrating age-old skills and techniques into our current work. Along the way, we have made new connections, created relationships with friends and pieces  that play a role in our story. There are those that have been with us from the beginning and others that have come and gone, but one thing remains constant, they stay with us through memories.

We have the ability to link objects and feelings to those memories; a lifetime of emotion can be evoked from a single touch or sighting. Maybe your grandmother’s wood-handled kitchen knife brings back memories of your education in chopping vegetables without losing a finger. Or perhaps your mother’s overflowing recipe book holds all of the secrets needed to prepare for your very first dinner party. The rocking chair you built with your grandfather holds a feeling of accomplishment within its structure.

We speak of “worn stories” as a way of connecting with the clothing we wear, but there are other items, those that aren’t worn, that touch our hearts and play a role in our personal histories. At Alabama Chanin, one of those pieces is our sewing table.

The sewing table of Alabama Chanin represents a world of connections – connections to previous owners, our artisans, our fabrics, our patterns, and our history. Though many tables have filled this role throughout the years, they each embody the spirit of our company.

Each table has been touched by many hands – the hands of those who have passed through and those who remain here. The sewing tables have been covered by so many fabrics – fabrics that became pieces that live all over the world. They share accounts of trials and triumph, necessity and entertainment. Each one holds within it beautiful tales of design stories from the women who’ve surrounded its edges. Laughter flows out of them, reminiscing of projects gone wrong and favorite pieces sewn. We smile as newcomers tap into their creativity around our table; we know it will only add to the character of the piece. Each time we frequent it, it greets us with the familiarity of an old friend. It beckons to us to come, sit a while.

Significant pieces, like our sewing table, play a role in our company just as much as the products we create. It’s as if they soak up all of the love and creativity in the room and hold it inside of them.

What connections to the past does your home hold? What pieces help tell your story?

2 comments on “THE SEWING TABLE

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  1. Angela

    My maternal Grandmother taught me to sew. She was a professional seamstress from the 1920’s till the late 70’s. Her roots are in Georgia. When my Grandmother died I got all her sewing supplies neatly organized in a variety of gift boxes and old Christmas card boxes (early recycling). Silk thread on wooden bobbins, bits of lace for applique, seam binding, rick-rack, buttons and other findings. I have used some of it and I feel like my clothing or soft furnishings have her spirit within them – protecting me at all times. I have a side table of hers that she used as a hand-sewing table with drawers. I use it all the time as well like she did.

    I love to sew and though my artist self battles for time with my sewing self, I am learning to marry the two now and I am happy.

  2. Caroline

    Such a lovely observation about the life of objects– the ones that live alongside us as faithful companions, and persist after we’re gone, imbued with an ever-deeper significance as they’re burnished by time and love.
    Thoughts like these are so terribly important in shaping the way we act in the world. Thank you so much for sharing this.